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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wasn't sure where to put this, so I figure the general forum is as good as any...

Anyways, I have something of a little problem when it comes to the track. After a couple track days, various control riders have said that I've certainly got the pace to move from the novice group to intermediate. However, they also all are in agreement that they're hesitant to bump me up because I seem to be afraid to pass slower riders - which I totally am. (They also all seem to agree my body positioning is kind of meh)

Since the novice group is only allowed to pass in situations when the bike is upright, I never feel like I have a good opportunity to get around someone. I'm always afraid of those supersports and litrebikes, since they can just roll their wrist back and leave me in the dust! I don't want to attempt to pass someone - only to have them pull away from me - leaving me in a bad spot for the next corner.

One recommendation I heard is to pull back a bit before a corner, do a late turn in, and then use that to gain a higher exit speed and sort of slingshot around them. While I can see the logic in this, I think it would mean having to re-learn all my lines around the track.

The track in question is Blackhawk Farms, if anyone is interested. Any of you guys have some tips on what I can practice/think about/try to do next time I go out there?

For reading that, enjoy this picture of me going slow.
 

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I have no experience at Blackhawk, so I have no idea what lines you are using. But as a general proposition, later in/straighter out allows you to apply power sooner and nearer to your apex than the tighter lines do. While late turn in results in a slightly longer line, the power and speed benefits generally outweigh the distance penalty. The real exception is when the NEXT corner comes quickly and opens on to a significant straight shot.
 

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Remember that passing doesn't always have to be on the gas. For instance alot of my passes at NJMP (no experience at the track you mention but the process is the same) is to pass going into corners. Alot of riders on bigger bikes especially at your level will get on the brakes alot ealier than you will because how much high speed they are at. Especially down long straight aways. Here is a friend at Summit point during a race event and he is racings against more powerful I4's and notice how he reals them in and passes them. I know that you probably have passing rules in your group but again the concept is the same. SV650's are very light and as long as the bike is setup properly with the suspension and tire pressure you will be able to out manuever bigger bikes.


The key to making this all happen is to master not only your machine but your skills as well. If you are still having issues with body position and are kinda still iffy on passing folks then I would advise to stay in your current group and work on these skills till you have them hands down, then not only will you get bumped up, but most likely you will be asked to be bumped up rather then you asking them to be bumped.

Another reason for making sure you have all the tools in your group now is because usually in the next group up their braking markers and turn in markers will be deeper and quicker. You will need to be able to learn and deal with those differences and the only way to achieve that is to practice that in a slower group.
 

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I have the same exact problem in novice group (being overly cautious to pass). The last track day I did was on a weekend and there were a lot of guys on bigger bikes who pull away on the straights but slow me down in the turns. Are you not allowed to pass at all in turns? In the org I ride with you are allowed to outside pass in novice and if I wasn't able to do that I'd get held back a lot more. The other spot I am able to squeeze by is after the long straight, these same guys tend to brake early or hard and sometimes I can beat them to the turn-in and not even have to pass in the turn.
 

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Another reason for getting held up is not looking up far enough. If it seems that all of a sudden you in traffic and being held up, its probably because you aren't looking far enough. You need to get your head and eyes up and you will be amazed at how much easier it will be to pass folks. Also making sure you are on line will give you tons of time to see and there will be times where its really hard to pass folks because we don't have the Hp but use this time to see where a rider in front of you is either slow going into a corner or maybe is off line a bit where you can legally place yourself and pass and it doesn't have to be on that same lap. Learn while you are behind that lap then on the following lap give yourself some room then when you see your chance make the pass. In TPM they like to see 3-4 ft' between riders in passes. This is just in case the other rider freaks out and decides to crash while you are passing.
 

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MOD - Can we move this thread to the "Skills and Techniques" forum?

Thanks!
 

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Get better on the brakes and coast less into a turn (ie get back on throttle)
 

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I'm also in the brake later crowd.

Was at a ACC last weekend and there were a lot of riders on bigger bikes in the novice group that were doing the same thing. I am pretty comfortable there because it was a repeat trip, so I knew the breaking points already and was able to get past most riders as they were breaking way too soon.

Then i'd never see them again. (until the next sesssion)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For those that asked - correct, we're not allowed to pass at all in turns, and unfortunately BHF is a very curvy track. The couple times I have passed, it's always been between 5 and 6. From 6 to 7, and 7 to 1, supersports and such just get such a huge lead on me, though I'm usually back on them by turn 3.

BFR is just a hair under 2 miles long.



Last few sessions of the day, one of the CRs was following me around the entire time. After the session he commented to me that he had looked back a few times and was surprised to see no one anywhere behind us; 'I didn't realize we were moving at that kind of pace.' Made me feel kind of better about myself. :p

I agree with the comment about later braking - I really need to get better pads and SS lines. I'd get fade pretty quick after just two or three hard laps.

Anyways, thanks for the comments guys. Unfortunately I'm still in novice after five track days - guess it means I'm a bit of a slow learner. :( I definitely agree passing requires all the other skills (braking, cornering, etc) to be up to par before it can be done safely.
 

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[T]hey're hesitant to bump me up because I seem to be afraid to pass slower riders - which I totally am.
That's really the issue. If you are not comfortable passing people, no amount of internet coaching is going to fix that. Just relax, take your time and soon enough you'll get the hang of it. It took me quite a few sessions to get used to passing people, especially in the novice class: (1) because you can only pass on the outside and novices tend to block the outside (racing line) and (2) because the other novice riders can be so unpredictable.


Take a class or grab onto a control rider, have him/her lead you around and watch how they do it. Analyze where and how the guy in front of you is slowing you down and soon enough you'll figure a way around - probably by braking later.

Good luck and don't sweat it.
 

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Unfortunately I'm still in novice after five track days - guess it means I'm a bit of a slow learner. :( I definitely agree passing requires all the other skills (braking, cornering, etc) to be up to par before it can be done safely.
You were probably too old to take Stoner's seat away next year anyway. Better to concentrate on improving both your speed and skill simultaneously ratjher than trying to go faster than your brain wants to go.
 

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You can still get by on corner exit. Start rolling on the gas earlier, I'm usually on the gas a few feet before the apex. The sooner you start getting on the gas the faster you can exit the corner. You would be surprised at what a difference this can make up for in horsepower. Plus if you start showing them a wheel coming out of a corner, they are more inclined to wave you by. If you combine this with a slightly later turn in with slower turn in speed you can set yourself up for a fast exit.

The other option is to take them inside on the brakes. But that leaves a little more room for error if you're not very advanced yet.

And yes, this means having to learn new lines, which will make you a much better rider overall.
 

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Is that the only track you've done? I've done novice all season but it's been my first time at all the tracks, so I like taking it easy at unfamiliar places.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Correct, it's the only track I've ever been to. There's Road America to the north of me, but I don't think I'll be challenging that on the SV anytime soon! There's another track called the Autobahn that's also kind of near me that I've looked at, but I've heard it's not as fun to ride as the one I've been to.
 

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That's really the issue. If you are not comfortable passing people, no amount of internet coaching is going to fix that. Just relax, take your time and soon enough you'll get the hang of it. It took me quite a few sessions to get used to passing people, especially in the novice class: (1) because you can only pass on the outside and novices tend to block the outside (racing line) and (2) because the other novice riders can be so unpredictable.


Take a class or grab onto a control rider, have him/her lead you around and watch how they do it. Analyze where and how the guy in front of you is slowing you down and soon enough you'll figure a way around - probably by braking later.

Good luck and don't sweat it.
I had that happen on monday, passing on the outside and the guy i was passing ran about 6-8 feet wide out to the edge of the track.. Thank God he saw me since I only had about 1 foot of asphalt left before the grass.
 

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Correct, it's the only track I've ever been to. There's Road America to the north of me, but I don't think I'll be challenging that on the SV anytime soon! There's another track called the Autobahn that's also kind of near me that I've looked at, but I've heard it's not as fun to ride as the one I've been to.
For some reason I thought road america was in Atlanta. I think that's road atlanta? :roflmao:

Autobaun is the closest to me. I like it. It's one you can learn fast because all of the turns are pretty visible. On top of that there is a north course, south course, and they can combine them for one large ass course.

I have not been to BHF but if you get a chance to check out ACC at least once I would try it. The facilities are pretty nice and if you go on a day they are running just one track you'll probably see abunch of cars you'll never afford out putzing around and also running on the other track.
 

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Check out chicagolandsportbikes.com, bunch of guys that are local to Blackhawk and give you more specific advice

I have seen threads there on technique and body positioning, not sure on specifics
 

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Being in the right gear coming out of the turn helps a lot
and as Kevin Schwantz said, wait till you see God, than brake.
 

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Of course there is also the great late Zoran who has this advise.

 
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